On 2/22/2022, I was diagnosed with a rare form of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. I was only 23 years old. my symptoms mimicked a regular flu virus with laryngitis, so my medical team couldn’t understand why I was persistent at appointments and told them I knew something was wrong with me. Eventually, we found the main tumor attached to my left vocal cord. That is what had been giving me a hoarse voice for two months. When they debulked it, it was blocking 50% of my airway. I was the one that pushed for scans and referrals and even went to the ED for help multiple times. It was my own research and my intuition that saved my life. I went on to finish 6 rounds of chemotherapy and be declared cancer free in July of 2022. 

Now, I feel a deep calling to help other people, to be a resource for them that I wish I had. I remember what a cathartic experience that was for me to finally be able to talk to someone who “gets it.” I was so humbled by the outpouring of support for me last year, and now I’m ready to pay it forward. 

I’m also a professional makeup artist in my spare time! I love helping people feel beautiful and comfortable in their own skin. Makeup was a lifeline to me while I was in treatment, anchoring me to at least part of my identity. I know all the tips and tricks of the trade and I love to talk about all things beauty.

I am a 43 year old man. I reside in Louisville Kentucky. I am a one time kidney transplant recipient and I am looking for my second transplant. I have been working in the kidney industry for almost 10 years. I have worked as a volunteer, I have worked as a patient advocate for a transplant program here in Kentucky. I have spoken at  variety of different patient roundtable discussions about all things Kidney disease. I am a family man, I have two kids, a daughter, Abigail 12 and a son, Zander 7. I enjoy watching baseball and all kinds of sports movies and podcasts. I am excited to be part of Transplantlyfe

Susan B. Sloane, BS, RPh, CDCES, CPT has been a registered pharmacist for more than 32 years, and a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist for most of her career. Her two sons were diagnosed with diabetes, and, since then, she has been dedicated to promoting wellness and optimal outcomes as a patient advocate, information expert, educator, and corporate partner.

Susan has published numerous articles on the topic of diabetes for patients and health care professionals. She has committed her career goals to helping patients with diabetes stay well through education. Her recently published book, Sweet Genes: Finding a Balance Living with Diabetes, tells her story and provides tips for dealing with diabetes.

Lauren Erbach Barnfield is a Crohn’s patient, nonprofit professional and patient advocate. She is passionate about providing quality education programming for patients and caregivers and advocating for policy change and healthcare reform. When she’s not doing those things, she’s curled up with a good book, enjoying the outdoors, or listening to Hanson’s “String Theory” on repeat.

Lauren and her husband, two children, and too many pets reside in Norridge, Illinois.

Passionate. Unique. Loyal. Resilient. These words are commonly used to describe Sharron S. Rouse. Sharron is an experienced leader with a demonstrated history of working in the education and nonprofit industries. She is skilled in program coordination, leadership, community outreach, and curriculum development. Sharron is a strong educational professional with an Administrator certification focused in Educational Leadership and Administration.

A native of the Washington, DC Metropolitan area, she has dedicated her life to influencing the world as a kidney disease, dialysis, and now transplant survivor. Sharron actively shares her story to bring hope and healing to anyone facing difficult circumstances in life. To expand the scope of her reach, Sharron founded Kindness for Kidneys International, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating, encouraging, and empowering kidney warriors and their families. Sharron lives in Maryland with her husband Shawn and daughter Kyla.

Chet Alan Bennett aka Chef Bennet; Licensed Cosmetologist; School Owner; Salon Owner; Radio Host; Conference Host; Instructor; Motivational Speaker; Author; Executive Producer; and Founder of a non-profit. These are some of the many titles that Mr. Chet A. Bennett has held over the years while being a successful businessman. He is a proud graduate of Morehouse College with a BA in Religion and a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration and Supervision from Howard University. From holding contracts for the Correctional Corporation of America and the DC Department of Corrections, to coordinating conferences, producing the documentary, “Don’t Put Down the Clippers,” writing the book “My Business is the Beauty Business,” and owning 6 salons, two daycare centers, and a beauty school, Mr. Bennett has achieved great heights in all his endeavors. Although he has held a strong role in the beauty industry for over 29 years, C. Alan Bennett has been cooking and catering since 1992.

It wasn’t until he received a kidney transplant that he decided to spend the rest of his life dedicated to the culinary industry. He created The C. Alan Foundation to not only bring awareness to the kidney disease community, but to educate the community on how to create a healthy lifestyle. Under the foundation, The Kidney Kafe’ with Chef Benne’, and the Kidney Conversations Talk Show was created. C. Alan has become a sought-after caterer at the Bennett Career Institute, The Kidney Kafe Pop-ups; a personal Chef; an inspiring Chef host on a progressive cooking show that airs on The Urban Television Network; his YouTube channel, and his website kidney-kafe.com.

He is now partnering with Access Housing Inc., a Southeast DC Veteran’s Service Center catering meals for the homeless, and is set to air his cooking show this spring on DCTV. He also has a book about a healthy eating lifestyle coming out in April “From the Ground to the Gut.” Chef Benne’ started the Kidney Kafe Garden in Washington DC’s most economically challenged community growing spices and sustainable food for the local area. There is much more to come from C. Alan Bennett, as his impact in the culinary community has just begun.

Tina is 43 years old, was born with the genetic disease cystic fibrosis and received a double lung  transplant in 2014. Tina has worked in her passion of bodymind health and wellness for over 20 years  helping hundreds of people with various conditions. She specialises now in Somatic Movement and  Embodiment for trauma, anxiety and stress due to living with chronic illness, cancer or organ  transplant. Tina facilitates online group courses, working with registered charities and other  organisations and does one-on-one coaching for empowering individuals to understand how their  bodymind is affected by their health and medical experiences, and how they can improve their  resilience, emotional balance, anxiety and traumatic stress symptoms through a body based  approach, whilst incrementally improving their relationship with their body, whatever their physical  condition.  

Tina has studied and qualified in Natural Nutrition, Regression Therapy, Yoga, Body Mind Centering,  and is in continuing studies for Body Mind Psychotherapy, Embodiment and Somatic Trauma  Therapy. 

I am a chronic illness warrior, kidney transplant recipient, and life coach. I am an Air Force wife and mom to 4 kids. I received my gift of life and began coaching in 2018. I love traveling, surprises, and being outside as much as possible. I was trained as a Be Bold Master by Jody Moore in 2018 and received my life coach certification from The Life Coach School in 2021. Prior to life coaching, I studied the brain and neural science with a BS and Masters in Speech-language Pathology. I worked with stroke, traumatic brain injury, tracheostomy, and dialysis patients on swallowing, cognition, speech, voice, and language therapy. Now I work with amazing people helping them to stop stressing out about their health and create purpose-filled and intentional lives.

Formerly a news anchor and reporter, Natalie Hayden was first diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in July 2005, two months after graduating with a journalism degree. She didn’t allow her disease to rob her of all she had worked towards, so she began her career three months after diagnosis. When Natalie left the news desk in 2014, she decided it was time to share her patient journey publicly in order to be the voice she desperately needed to hear upon diagnosis. Through her award-winning blog, Lights, Camera, Crohn’s, she shares stories and experiences every Monday about everything from overcoming struggles to celebrating small victories. As an IBD mom of three, she’s passionate about helping women with IBD navigate everything from the family planning process, to pregnancy, and motherhood. 

Along with her blog, Natalie is on the Advisory Board for IBD Moms, a member of Janssen’s Patient Engagement Research Council, and an active participant of IBD Social Circle. She’s a writer and contributor for many digital healthcare sites and enjoys being a volunteer and spokesperson for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation and the American Gastroenterological Association.

Sam is a lucky, blessed and grateful heart recipient, who received the ultimate #giftoflife on April 20th, 2015, from his #donorhero. He was transplanted at the

University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore.

Sam’s mission is it pay it forward to the organ transplantation and donor communities. He works closely with the two Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs) in the greater Washington DC/Maryland areas. As a #Donatelife Ambassador for The Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland and Washington Regional Transplant Community, Sam raises awareness for Organ, Eye, Tissue & living Donation.

Sam continues to honor his donor and donor family through his work in the community including; service as a UNOS Ambassador and, as an active member of several transplant related support groups at various hospitals. He is also currently serving as a Director on the National Board of TRIO (Transplant Recipients International Organization).

Sam is committed to making the most of the #giftoflife he has received – he cherishes every moment he gets to spend with his wife, Viji and two daughters, Anika and Maya. He also very much enjoys cooking, driving, traveling and hanging  out with his four-legged son, Jay (a Chihuahua/Jack Russell rescue dog)